West Virginia education board approves Fayette County consolidation

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West Virginia education board approves Fayette County consolidation
By Alex Thomas, WV MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Board of Education voted Wednesday to close seven schools in the Fayette County Schools district.

The Fayette County Board of Education voted 4-1 in May for closing numerous schools and reconfiguring schools for new grade levels.

This plan included closing Meadow Bridge High School, a measure which was removed in the approved plan.

Multiple individuals at the meeting Wednesday voiced concerns about the increased travel time for students if the institution was closed.

“We were still going to have to keep that building partially open for grades seven and eight,” Fayette County Schools Superintendent Terry George said. “So now, what we’ll have to do is come back and we’ll have to look how we are going to re-evaluate how the school will be reconfigured.”

The plan would allow the school system to focus resources on a fewer number of schools rather than spreading it around multiple institutions.

“Eventually, as the students enter the school, they will become acclimated to making new friends and having more opportunities, I think the students will accept it more readily than the adults,” George added. “Then the adults will eventually accept it and embrace it.”

At the conclusion of the 2017-2018 academic year, Anstead Middle School will be closed. Students will then attend Midland Trail High School, which will accept students between sixth and 12th grade.

After the 2018-2019 school year, the following will happen:

— Rosedale and Mount Hope Elementary Schools will be closed;
— Collins Middle School will only accept students between sixth and eighth grades;
— New River Elementary School will become a third- through fifth-grade institution;
— Fayette and Gatewood elementary schools will be closed;
— Fayetteville High School will turn into a pre-K through eighth-grade school, and the high school; students will be moved to Oak Hill High School;
— Valley Elementary School will be closed; and
— Valley High School will be reconfigured into a K- through eighth-grade institution.

The plan reduces the number of schools from 18 to 11 over a two-year period.

The state School Building Authority previously rewarded the Fayette County school board with $22.6 million for building a new school in Oak Hill for pre-K- through second-grade students. The school will be for appropriate students of Rosedale, Mount Hope and New River elementary schools.